Written by Somya Lakhani | New Delhi | Published: June 21, 2020 4:35:24 am
Yogendra Yadav with ‘Hum Bharat Ke Log’ volunteers in the city on Monday. (Express photo)
Swaraj India president Yogendra Yadav, student leader Kawalpreet Kaur and advocate D S Bindra find mention in a chargesheet filed by the Delhi Police in the murder case of head constable Rattan Lal (42) during the riots in Northeast Delhi in February.
While the three are not part of the list of 17 accused, the chargesheet states that the “links of the organisers of the (Chand Bagh) protest site with the likes of D S Bindra (AIMIM), Kawalpreet Kaur (AISA), Devangana Kalita (Pinjra Tod), Safoora, Yogendra Yadav, etc itself indicates a hidden agenda behind the violence”.
According to police, the Chand Bagh protest had been going on since mid-January.
As per the chargesheet, on February 24, “serious communal riots took place in Northeast Delhi, in which more than 750 cases were registered, 53 persons lost their lives, including head constable Rattan Lal of the Delhi Police”.
The chargesheet states: “Lal, along with ACP (Gokalpuri) and DCP (Shahdara) and some other police officials, was present closest to the protest site at Chand Bagh. Apparently, during the attack by mob, he could not jump over the five-feet-tall divider on the Wazirabad road, and collapsed after being shot at and hit by stones.”
The chargesheet mentions that Lal was “beaten with sticks, rods… He was taken to GTB hospital where he was declared brought dead.” His post-mortem was conducted on February 25, and, as per the chargesheet, “it revealed that he had died due to gunshot injury. In all, he had sustained 21 injuries on his body”.
The Crime Branch of Delhi Police filed the chargesheet before Metropolitan Magistrate Rakesh Kumar Rampuri on June 8.
The 17 accused in Lal’s murder are between the ages of 18 and 50 years, and while most are residents of Chand Bagh, some are from neighbouring areas like Prem Nagar, Mustafabad and Jagatpuri.
In the chargesheet, Yadav’s name also appears in the statement of a witness from the Chand Bagh protest site: “…Protest started here. People from outside were called and advocate Bhanu Pratap, Bindra, Yadav and many students of JNU, Jamia and DU used to come, who used to speak against the government and NRC and would say that Muslims should be anxious. This continued from January to February 24, for 50 days”.
Under the section that mentions the role of one of the accused and the evidence against him, the chargesheet states, “He is acquainted with Kawalpreet Kaur (AISA), Devangana Kalita (Pinjra Tod), Safoora, Yogendra Yadav, etc who used to visit the protest site and deliver hate speeches and instigate the public to be violent”.
Yadav told The Indian Express, “Everything that I spoke is in the public domain. Please point out one instance where I have directly or indirectly incited violence of any kind.”
Kaur said that she “will go through the chargesheet and then comment”.
Advocate Bindra is also mentioned as “one of the conspirators” in the chargesheet. “It has been revealed that he put up a community kitchen ‘langar’ at Chand Bagh at first. He was joined by some local residents whom we may term as local organisers. Conspirators were in frequent touch with the local organisers since the inception of the protest site till the violence broke out on February 24,” it states.
In the chargesheet, police claim that the “riot at this site was the handiwork of Bindra, Salman Siddiqui, Salim Khan, Salim Munna, Shahdab, and Athar and others in cahoots with local rioters”. Three witnesses, in the chargesheet, claim that “on the request of Bindra and others”, arrangements such as “tent” and “langar were prepared for the protesters”.
Bindra told The Indian Express, “I have been organising langar for five years, and I received a request for one at Chand Bagh… I don’t remember the date. I only organise langar, how am I responsible for violence?”
Delhi Police PRO MS Randhawa declined to comment on the chargesheet.
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